This thing. This terrible, lovely thing that walks into and out of the room. She is terrible, because her black hair shrouds her cool, deep eyes. She is fierce. She shoots only a fleeting look at me. And I wonder why I can't actually see into her. I can see into others, why not her?

Her mighty arms move up and down, flapping - a bird maybe, or more likely a space ship in orbit around an enemy planet. She disappears.

I can hear her, so I go to where the giggling is. She is crouched behind the big urn in the bedroom. "Are you my princess?" I ask her. My voice is not as demanding as I think she heard it to be.

"No," she says. "I don't want to be a pwincess." I am taken aback by her forcefulness. "I am a dwagon."

"Well, what about a Chinese warrior princess?" I ask her. She thinks about it. Her mind is wandering, and so is mine. One of those martial arts films with Lucy Liu, that's what I'm picturing. Powerful. Beautiful. Terrible, fierce. A sword flying around her head and attackers dropping to the ground in pain. Her expression, cold and determined.

Mei An's words bring me back instantly to the moment. "Does the pwincess say, 'wooo hooo hooo?'" I'm laughing because of all the things a warrior princess would say at that moment, I don't think it would be "wooo hooo hooo". I'm laughing because the cold Lucy Liu gaze that I had in my mind is shattered by Mei An's wide eyes and mocking head tilting back and forth and the pucker her mouth makes.

And while I'm laughing, she runs away in pursuit of another airborn fantasy. Now I see it. What I thought was a bird or spaceship in orbit around the enemy planet a few minutes a Chinese dragon, terrible and fierce and beautiful. I can't take my eyes off it as it flaps it's chaotic cadence down the hall and into the kitchen, and beyond, in search of a princess it can devour.